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Remembering WWI: The Men Who Gave Us Their Freedom

By Gregory, Year 9

The end of World War One was a moving and heart-warming experience for lots of people all over Britain. A hundred years later we still remember the people who ultimately died for our freedom.

Young people today may not understand that those who served in WW1 did so for the benefit of future generations.

But people didn't only show bravery and courage in the frontline. Many people helped in mines to make weaponry and ammunition, such as Joseph Lavery, who was awarded a British Empire medal for his bravery and courage.

I interviewed his son, Douglas Lavery and his wife Ann, who said that Joseph worked for our freedom, and the coal, iron and steel he mined may have made a small difference to the way the war turned out.

Joseph Lavery was born in 1901 but in 1915 at the age of 15 he left his school and education behind him and went to help in the mines.

“He knew very well the dangers of working in a mine but that didn't faze him since he wanted to help in the war effort,” said Ann.

Joseph was awarded the British Empire medal because of the bravery he showed when there was a mine explosion, and against the odds he saved an injured man.

“He did that for his and everybody’s futures and ultimately our freedom to this day” said Ann.

Britain was a very strong country at the time of 1914-1918 and still is today but what made us so strong and willing was because as a nation we wanted freedom. When war broke out men were not forced to join the war effort; for all we know we could have been a nation where we showed no willing and no one wanted to fight. But we weren’t like that. Everyone that came to the war effort volunteered because they wanted to help the war effort.

Douglas also had an uncle of the name Harry Johnson who trained to be in the military front line. He was placed in the 41st division of the Durham Light Infantry who were majority minors. And he played a part in several battles such as Flanders, Ypres and even Messines. Huge amounts of men gave their lives for the war effort. But what this shows is that even if you are not directly on the war front lines fighting you can still significantly help the war effort by mining, farming or even training soldiers for the frontlines.

World War One marks the meaning of freedom in a sense. This is because this was Britain’s chance to show their personality, their punch and their ‘never give up’ attitude. This will have contributed hugely to the winning of the war since Germany would never have expected our determination and pride to be British.  Britain would not be the same if we had not won the war since we wouldn’t have the will for free speech and free voting and the privilege of living without the threat of bombing or raids.

Return to WWI Centenary